A Heartwarming Read On How A Woman Received The Gift Of Motherhood Through Adoption
"Being able to give and love. To see how you make a difference in carving the future of a person—in the way he or she feels and thinks." These are the best things about being a mom, according to Mitos Camahort
Mitos Camahort has never felt the need to make the distinction.
To her, biological and adoptive motherhood are one and the same; what makes a woman a mother is not her ability to conceive, but her selflessness in raising a child, her dedication of many years of her life to their nurturance, happiness, and protection.
"Adopted children may not be born from your womb, but they are born from your heart," she begins, echoing the feelings of thousands of other Filipino moms (and dads, too!) who have also chosen to adopt.
It's a beautiful message to send this Mother's Day when moms are in the spotlight: the love of a mother is boundless. No matter how destiny chooses to bring a mother and child together, a mother's heart will not beat any differently.
One look at any of the photos Mitos has of her and her daughter, Monica, is enough to know that this mother speaks the truth. Their smiles, the closeness, the way the corners of their eyes crinkle upwards when they're in each other arms—all are manifestations of love.
Looking back at how she was blessed with Monica more than two decades ago and reflecting on her journey of motherhood, Mitos talks about her fondest memories, life-altering experiences, and lessons from one mom to another.
11 years—that's how long it took Mitos to add "mother" to her personal CV. She and her husband had tried and tried to conceive, but it became clear that a pregnancy just wasn't in the stars for them.
"I wanted a child so badly," she states, something she must have said many times over in the past with much heaviness.
While some women at this point might settle for being a tita, an honorary second mom, or an auxiliary maternal figure to nieces and nephews and even the children of close friends, Mitos knew that a different path awaited her. It sure might have been bumpier and without clear directions to reach a destination, but there was still a path nonetheless, and it was paved just for her.
Little did she know that it would lead her to consider the option of adoption—a decision that would light up Mitos' life with an inextinguishable glow forever.
Her daughter was but a month old when they were brought together. Just this month, she turned 23 years old, which means Mitos is about to celebrate her 23rd Mother's Day this Sunday, too.
Mitos is a pretty regular mom these days with regular mom concerns; she loves Monica to bits, but refuses to spoil her (that's her grandparents' and godparents' job!), and she plays the role of disciplinarian while her husband is more than happy being Monica's parent-slash-buddy (though, of course, the responsibilities of parenting are shared between them). They're also both at their best when they're hanging out with their dogs or sharing their mutual love for all things artistic.
What a life as mother-to-be, new mom, and mom of 20-plus years it's been for Mitos!
She smiles in satisfaction now, but she's honest and reveals, too, that first-time motherhood—and adoption—came with challenges.
"It was a total change for us. We went from 'you and me' to us three.' We began to think of a third person—a family. Our priorities changed, too. All of a sudden we were thinking about the future of our child. Everything was for and about the child," Mitos recalls.
And then of course came the pangs of first-time paranoia and though Mitos is able to laugh things off now, the sense of security wasn't without calls and trips made to the pediatrician.
"Since we were not really prepared, we were like headless chickens!" she shares.
"It was only after that first [pediatric] consultation that we were able to relax and not panic... Before going to the pediatrician, I had to go to the store and it took me an hour, almost two, to buy a onesie for the baby so she could look decent. After all, she was a was little girl," Mitos smiles.
Doctor visits, making her home child-friendly, mastering the art of diaper changing and milk bottle refilling, trying her hardest not to ball her eyes out after dropping Monica off on her first day at preschool—those were the easy bits.
But Mitos' journey had a whole other component to it that most moms will never have to deal with. She sought answers to how she should eventually open up the conversation of adoption, and more importantly, how to ensure that her child is equipped with the right feelings, state of mind, and information she needs to deal with those who look unkindly at adoption.
She projected that Monica would be 12 years old when she would be ready to have this serious sit-down with mom and dad. But Monica beat her to it—five years early, at that!
"At age seven, she told us she had a feeling mostly because of the physical differences. She took it well and she even hugged me and her dad and said thank you for having raised her so well. Needless to say, the floodgates of tears were totally opened and we loved her all the more," Mitos confides.
Mitos has, of course, thought of what it might be like should she meet Monica's biological parents. Her answer was straightforward: give them a hug, and allow Monica to do the talking. The most important part was for Mitos to show her support, no matter what.
Speaking of support, it wasn't only Monica who needed it; Mitos herself needed a pick-me-up once in a while, too, and she found this and more among other parents who had adopted kids, much like herself.
"Early on, we also realized the responsibilities that came with the adoption... [Monica] did not look like us and people who would see us would definitely wonder, stare at her or just ask upfront if she was adopted," Mitos describes.
But the sad part of being an adoptive mother paled in comparison to the joys that come with it. Asked if she could rewrite her life, and possibly raise a family differently, her answer was resounding "no."
"It was a learning experience. And although it was a challenging one, if you ask me if I will do it again, I would," she says.
And to parents wondering if Mitos suggests the option of adoption to parents unable to or having difficulties in conceiving, she says "yes"—one hundred percent!
"Adoption is a beautiful thing and I think no such stigma can change my view on adoption. I believe it should not affect the decisions of couples thinking of adopting either as this is an absolute blessing for couples who long for children," she says.
As of this writing, there are four days to go until Mother's Day. It'll be a different kind of Mother's Day for every mom around the world as it'll be spent under quarantine in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's okay. Mitos has learned that all a mother needs is the love of her family to make the occasion count.
"Being able to give and love. To see how you make a difference in carving the future of a person—in the way he or she feels and thinks." These are the best things about being a mom, according to Mitos.
"Children are born like blank paper. What you write on the paper comes from you. How they respond to things. How they deal with life. There is nothing more gratifying, I think, than seeing how well you have raised your child," she tells us.
Seeing how the young woman Monica has grown to be, from the little one-month-old that she once was experiencing the blessing of family and a mother's embrace for the very first time, we have no doubt that Mitos will indeed be one happy mommy on Mother's Day, and all the days after that.
Photos courtesy of Mitos Camahort